New action plan adopted for boosting exports, FDI
The government will spend EUR 13m this year alone for the activities planned in the document dubbed International Challenges 2019-2020.
The key challenges the action plan is to address are connected with the fact that exports represent 80% of Slovenia's gross domestic product (GDP), and that 80% of exports is generated in Europe.
Half of the exports generated in Europe are destined for an area within a 500-km range, while more than half of total exports is generated by 100 companies.
The plan is to diversify exports and increase the number of exporters, and in particular among SMEs, Aleš Cantarutti, a state secretary at the Economy Ministry, told the press after the government session on Thursday.
The priority export markets are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France, the Visegrad Group (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) and the Western Balkans, as well as the US and China.
Other markets of interest include Russia, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Romania, Bulgaria and the Nordic countries, the government's press release says.
The government also plans to continue to attract FDI and catch up with other European countries in this respect.
The goal is to increase exports by 5% a year, which Cantarutti admitted is "quite a bold goal, considering that there are already signs of a slowdown", and to increase the share of FDI in Slovenia's GDP by 0.5 percentage points a year.
Other goals include increasing added value per employee by 5% a year and lifting the share of exports generated by SMEs in total exports by two percentage points a year.
The main opportunities perceived when it comes to internationalisation are specialisation in hi-tech products and services, such as smart plants, e-mobility and robotisation.
The target sectors are vehicles, electric and electronic equipment, machines and devices, tourism and transport and products with the highest growth potential.
The government will try to attract FDI mainly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, while additional promotional activities are also planned in Italy, the US and Japan.
Slovenia's exports last year amounted to EUR 30.9bn, which is 9.2% more than in 2017, while imports increased by 11% to EUR 30.6m. More than half of international trade was done with Germany, Italy, Croatia, Austria and France.
FDI amounted to EUR 13.7bn at the end of 2017 or 5.4% more than at the end of 2016, with the largest share of them in manufacturing (32.9%) and the finance and insurance sector (22.3%).
Direct investments by Slovenian companies abroad amounted to EUR 5.9bn, which is 2.9% more than at the end of 2016.
Slovenian companies mostly invest in manufacturing plants abroad, with around 60% of Slovenian international investments so far ending up in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and North Macedonia.